This post was editied by uhmm... user who shall remain nameless for the sake of not gratuitously bringing up a user name in vain (in keeping with our esteemed traditions... peace be upon them?)


The "edit" turned it into a different question which on the one hand expanded on one aspect of the original question; on the other hand narrowed it in another aspect.

I am confident that majority of the answers that this newly-edited question would attract would not answer the original question (as it was asked). I am also confident that the question's author would not even recognize the newly-edited question as their own. Less than 10% of the text of the original question was left after the edit.

I rolled it back to a more consistent version, but the ever-so-helpful user-who-is-not-to-be-named rolled back the rollback.

There was a previous discussion (about other question) in which a moderator stated that editing question's tags cannot amount to putting words in users' mouths. But surely changing their questions to be something entirely different does just that, does it not?

Do you not have an ability to stop a user who likes to inject his view of what others should or should ask into other people's questions?


I get that because everyone is short on time, they don't think too much about any old rant that they may edit on some website. But if one were to give a moment's thought to the question that this edit modified, one would see that there is a number of exclamations in the OP which are posed as rhetorical questions.

The last sentence, which contrasts Indonesia's IDs to other nations' IDs, is clearly one of those exclamations. It is not an invitation to actually give foreign examples of how useful religious IDs may become.

The gist of the question is to inquire how these religion labels, in official papers, are used in ways other than the ways stipulated by the power holders of the country. They sound like the yellow stars worn by Jews in the Nazi Germany, although obviously less pronounced. The lashing-out tone of the question is a not-unjustified exasperation. It's a rant, but of the best kind -- "Merchant of Venice"-style-rant.

The edit neutered the rant and made the question about other nations' practices, of exposing people's private religious affiliations to the public, as a morally-neutral occurance. But OP was really a cry for someone, who knows better, to expose cases of abuse of this system in Indonesia. It was a question about what were the differences between the real effects and the purported effects of having religions listed in the government-issued IDs in Indonesia. Which made it about the influence of clerics on the government of Indonesia and the effects of such influence. This is not off-topic for a site discussing governments and their underlying structures.

  • 3
    This may have some rationale, but the tone of this <s>rant</s> question is definitely not appropriate. Mar 19, 2018 at 5:06
  • @bytebuster, if it was in a vacuum, you'd be right. But given how much I've observed this user engage in this defacing and how often I've seen his actions defended by the moderators, I am going to allow myself to vent my frustration with some mockery.
    – grovkin
    Mar 19, 2018 at 5:31
  • 5
    Even if this were true, one should assume other users' good faith unless proven wrong. Have you stated something like "drastic edits may contradict the OP's intent"? No, you have silently reverted an edit. Triple. The other user has attempted to communicate with you via the annotation to their revisions. You have failed to do even that. So don't be surprised that your actions were perceived a bad faith, despite it was factually correct or not. "Be Nice" first. Mar 19, 2018 at 5:42
  • @bytebuster, fair enough. I did put a note to that effect in a later revision (in which I also made minor corrections to the original author's grammar and use of a colloquialism). I guess it remains to be seen if the user will continue with the rollbacks or let the original author's intent stand.
    – grovkin
    Mar 19, 2018 at 6:04
  • 6
    This question could be greatly improved if it actually outlined why you feel this is a bad edit, and how you feel it should be edited instead. Right now it merely asserts that it is a bad edit. In addition, your accusatory language and attitude is very tiring and frankly just rude. Feel free to disagree with anything I do and (constructively) criticize actions on meta, but please give me to common courtesy of assuming that I'm just a regular bloke interested in politics trying to make this site better.
    – user11249
    Mar 19, 2018 at 14:04
  • @Carpetsmoker, ok, I'll bite. How do you think the exclamation "You kidding me?" was indicative of the intent expressed in your edit? Or do you think it wasn't meant to communicate anything at all about what the author was trying to express? Just because someone wasn't eloquent, it doesn't mean that they didn't have a good question.
    – grovkin
    Mar 19, 2018 at 19:53
  • 1
    I think you've misunderstood the purpose of this site. We host questions & answers here, not blog posts. We expect questions to be specific and phrased in as neutral a way as possible. We expect answers to actually answer the question. These expectations are not negotiable, and "author's intent" is secondary. Often, quite irrelevant. There are several places on the Internet where the "You kidding me?" version of the question would be welcomed. For better or worse, this site isn't one of them.
    – yannis
    Mar 20, 2018 at 13:49
  • 1
    That said, I agree with you that the edit that broadened the scope of the question was unnecessary /cc: @Carpetsmoker. I'm afraid it's too late to revert it now, however, as it would invalidate the existing answer. Oh well, perhaps next time you won't waste as much time and energy barking at people for trying to improve the site's content, and focus on politely explaining why you disagree with their edits.
    – yannis
    Mar 20, 2018 at 13:57
  • Maybe @yannis? I don't see how it would invalidate the existing answer though? I don't really care about "purpose of listing the religion" versus "purpose of listing the religion in Indonesia" as such, but it seemed to me that the broader question is closer to what OP intended (could be wrong, no way to be sure without OP's input) and is also a more useful question to ask in general.
    – user11249
    Mar 20, 2018 at 20:39
  • Re: your edit. I think you're seeing far too much in this. As Yannis already mentioned, for better or worse, this site is a "neutral" platform where taking a position in a question is strongly discouraged. In this particular case, I don't disagree what "the lashing-out tone of the question is a not-unjustified exasperation", but in many other cases things are less clear-cut. Who is to decide when the tone is or is not a "not-unjustified exasperation"?
    – user11249
    Mar 20, 2018 at 20:47
  • @yannis, content is licensed under Creative Commons. Which does emphesize attribution to the original authors as a requirement for reproduction. Anyone who wants to ask a different question, should be doing just that. It's not consistent (at least in the spirit of the license) to change question X into a different question (let's say Y) because in one's opinion (or even in the opinion of the community) question Y is a better question than X. Editions should be limited in scope to fixing up questions to be better understood. Changing their meaning is putting words in authors' mouths.
    – grovkin
    Mar 20, 2018 at 21:47
  • @Carpetsmoker, re: "who is to decide...". The people answering the question can decide on that. As an example of how this works (when it works well), I'd invite you to take a look at this answer (ell.stackexchange.com/a/148528/50197) to a question on a different stackexchange site. The original question there was much more repulsive. And yet through people answering it, by emphesizig differences in perspective, the author realized that what he was asking needed more clarification and applied his own changes to create a better meeting of the minds.
    – grovkin
    Mar 20, 2018 at 22:04
  • @yannis, here's the appropriate line from Creative Commons license: "Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use." Making it appear that an author asked a question other than the one they meant to ask does, indeed, suggest that "the licensor" (ie., author of OP) endorses your use.
    – grovkin
    Mar 20, 2018 at 22:14
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    I'm aware of the licence @grovkin. I am not sure why you are bringing it up, though. The OP has given no indication that they are dissatisfied with the edits, and your own opinion on the matter is quite irrelevant (in regard to the licence). If they are indeed dissatisfied with the revisions, they have options. One of these is to revert the question to the initial version. That, however, would also mean that we would have to remove the question, as - and this has been explained to you multiple times - we do not host rants on this site.
    – yannis
    Mar 21, 2018 at 8:37
  • And since we are discussing licensing, please do keep in mind that the Stack Exchange Network Terms of Service and the site's guidelines also apply. The license does not supersede either. If a post does not conform with the Terms of Service or the site's guidelines, it must either be removed or be revised according to our guidelines. If updating the post somehow conflicts with the licence, then the only option is for the post to be removed. It's not a great option, but it's a good enough option if all else fails.
    – yannis
    Mar 21, 2018 at 8:43

2 Answers 2


The question was initially not up to our quality standards. It even gathered two close-votes, one for unclear and one for promote or discredit a specific political cause. But fortunately a well-respected user gave the question a rewrite. They rephrased the question to ask just one question, and made it sound less opinionated and more neutral.

Unfortunately there was another user who kept reverting these constructive edits. Thank you for bringing our attention to this.

I rolled it back to the last good version. Unfortunately it is not technically possible to lock the body of the question while still allowing answers to be posted. So I hope that the user who started rolling back these constructive edits will refrain from further edit-warfare and leave it at the revision I restored. We already told the user here that they are mistaken about their preconception that fixing bad questions is a "defacement". I really hope they get the message before we need to take consequences.

  • as i suspected, the user who must remain nameless still made revisions further stepping from the original intent of the author. And he said so explicitly in the comments. Is there any reason why this particular user is given the authority (as it is time and again enforced by some of the moderators) to completely misrepresent the intent of the question authors? You are actively putting words in authors mouths now, won't you agree? This is changing content rather than just tags.
    – grovkin
    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:55
  • given how often this user practices this censorial revisionism, it is plainly not true that you don't have any tools at your disposal to stop him. you can lock him out.
    – grovkin
    Mar 19, 2018 at 12:57
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    made revisions further stepping from the original intent of the author. And he said so explicitly in the comments: What did I say exactly that leads you to this conclusion @grovkin? Because the only thing I can see is a comment which states the exact opposite. All my (relatively simple) edit does is clarify the question while retaining the meaning of the original question. It's the entire point of the "edit" button. I don't understand what your problem with this is, or how you come to conclusions of "censorial revisionism".
    – user11249
    Mar 19, 2018 at 13:46
  • @Carpetsmoker, the question was not about other countries and whether they implemented listing of religion in official papers. That part was as much a rhetorical device as the other exclamations in the question. The question was about the difference between the effects of the listing of religious identiy in IDs in reality vs its ostensible goals. Other countries were only brought into the context of the question to point out that the ostnsible goals are achieved in other countries without such listing. The question, as you rephrased it, did not inquire about the effects in Indonesia.
    – grovkin
    Mar 22, 2018 at 2:25

If you were a little less stubborn, you might have had a better result.

For instance: If you had made a revision specifically regarding what you thought were the important parts, instead of rolling back the whole edit, AND if you had included a reason why it was important, you might have fared a bit better.

As a disclaimer, It still wouldn't be guaranteed to work since the only substantial difference between your version and Carpetsmoker's version is regarding whether or not the question is all about Indonesia, and the version posted by the OP included the phrase Do other countries have religions on their ID too? Why or why not? which suggests that the intent behind the question was broader than Indonesia

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